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Directing the Story by Francis Glebas

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5

Structural Approach: Tactics to Reach the Goal

Once Upon a Time …

Director and CalArts teacher Alexander Mackendrick in his book, On Filmmaking,1 shows the value of those traditional bedtime story phrases, such as “Once upon a time ….” He shows how these stock phrases illustrate dramatic structures. One could conceivably create a Mad Libs2 to invent new stories. Mad Libs were children’s books published by Price Stern Sloan of short stories with many of the key words replaced by blanks and instructions to replace the blanks with a name, verb, or adverb. The resulting stories were generally comical and surreal: Once upon a time in name of place ...

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